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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fresno State Student Comedy Premiers at Rogue Festival

by Jerry Palladino,
Artistic Director at Curtain 5

The 2016 Rogue Festival is almost here. KRL has been featuring several Festival performer preview articles over the last couple of weeks, and have several more to go between now and opening day! This week we also have an article about the Festival itself. We will also be reviewing many of the shows once the Festival begins in early March, and we may even do some more video interviews. Check out our Rogue Performer event page for more information as it becomes available, and you can also check out the Rogue 2016 website.

Spiritual Healing, an original play by Cyrus Kinzel, a freshman journalism major at California State University Fresno, premieres at Fresno Soap Co. Stage during the 2016 Rogue Festival on Saturday, March 5. His first comedy, Necromancin’ Around, was one of two original works that recently opened the 2016 Curtain 5 Theatre Group Season on January 29 at Fresno Soap Co Stage. Kinzel’s play is one of four original works selected during a 2015 Roosevelt School of the Arts playwriting competition sponsored by Gerald Palladino, Curtain 5 Founder and Artistic Director. Vuelos, an original drama by Roosevelt High School senior, Onyx Beytia, was on the same bill with Necromanci’ Around. Two additional original plays will open at Fresno Soap Co. Stage from the 2015 Roosevelt School of the Arts writing competition on Friday, August 5, 2016, for a two-weekend run.

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Palladino was so impressed with Kinzel’s first play, he asked him to submit an outline of another idea the student had for a new comedy he was writing. The result was Spiritual Healing, which opens during the upcoming Fresno Rogue Festival. The five performances are at Fresno Soap Co Stage, 1470 North Van Ness Avenue in the Tower District, Saturday, March 5 @ 2 p.m., Sunday, March 6 @ 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 9 @ 8 p.m., Thursday, March 10 @ 9:30 p.m., and Saturday, March 12 @ 3:30 p.m. Single tickets are $10 and available at the theater on performance dates.

Image source: Curtain 5

The screwball comedy focuses on Robert, deeply depressed when he should be happy. He recently completed rehabilitation for acute alcoholism and just received a successful liver transplant. Not so! His selfish former girlfriend, Vivian, just walked out on him, taking her belongings and his television. Weighing his options, Robert decides to swallow sleeping pills with Jim Beam bourbon whiskey to end his sorry life. A cold-call from a vacuum cleaner salesman temporarily interrupts him. Just when he tries a second time, just after Vivian leaves, he is shocked back into reality when a stranger suddenly appears out of nowhere. That stranger is Joe. We later learn Joe is the ghost of the man whose liver now resides in Robert’s body. Joe drives Robert mad by constantly following him around. Robert is further victimized when his neighbor, Howard, an old insane Vietnam veteran, breaks through the apartment window and threatens to stab him to death with a Bowie knife. In the madcap chase around Robert’s couch, Joe accidentally kills Howard, when he hits him over the head with a cast iron frying pan. Joe and Robert must now hide Howard in the closet, until they get rid of the body.

Still plagued by Joe’s presence, Robert telephones Kai, a hippie medium to get rid of the spirit. Kai can only provide Robert with a vague solution and then tries to give him a back rub, since he also moonlights as a massage therapist. Before Kai leaves, Robert must borrow $50 from Joe to pay for the visit. What else can go wrong? Who should then barge in but Jingle Balls, a pimp obsessed with the color purple who also wears tons of heavy gold jewelry, looking for Howard, his best paying client. Howard has missed an appointment with Rosita, Jingle’s ditzy streetwalker girlfriend (aka Lilith). Guess who? She’s Joe’s widow!

Spiritual Healing
promises to be another crowd pleaser from this talented young Fresno writer.

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